April Snow, Heavy Rains Take Damaging Toll On Fruit Crops In Jammu And Kashmir

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April Snow, Heavy Rains Take Damaging Toll On Fruit Crops In Jammu And Kashmir

The Jhelum waters have started receding, easing fears of a flood in Jammu and Kashmir.

Srinagar:  Srinagar was wrapped in a white blanket. But it wasn't a pretty picture as the unexpected April snowfall triggered multiple avalanches and floods in Jammu and Kashmir. Schools have shut down, people are stuck on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway and there is a shortage of food. That the Jhelum waters have started to recede brought some relief, these calamities are going to have a lasting impact on the state's economy.

Damages to trade, hotels, restaurants, horticulture and handicraft are the first to be noticed, but heavy rains and unseasonal snowfall have completely destroyed the fruit crops in the Valley. Farmer Bashir Ahmad's hopes have dashed to the ground. He was expecting a good yield this season. His daughter gets married next summer, but snowfall in the flowering season destroyed his pear orchard causing losses of over Rs 2 lakh.

"The snow has destroyed all the blossoms, now there is no hope for revival. When the sun comes back, the rest of the blossoms will also fall," said Mr Ahmad.
 
kashmir blossomsFreak weather conditions have caused major damages to almond, pear and cherry crops.

A little ahead another farmer Mohammad Shaban is also counting his losses. He has never seen such devastation due to snow in April. He will also suffer huge losses.

"The farmers have suffered the most due to the unseasonal snow. This was just the beginning of the flowering season, now there can't be a recovery," Mr Shaban said.

Horticulture is the mainstay of Kashmir's economy. Freak weather conditions have caused major damages to almond, pear and cherry crops. "There is lot of damage to the fruit crops because it is a peak flowering season, naturally there is a big loss," said Mukhtar Ahmad, Deputy Director, Meteorological Department, Kashmir

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today spoke to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and offered all possible support in dealing with the flood situation in the valley. "Spoke to J&K CM @MehboobaMufti on the flood situation in the state. Offered all possible support from Centre in dealing with the situation," he tweeted after his discussion.

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The administration had issued a flood alert in the Valley after the Jhelum started flowing above the danger mark. Many low-lying areas have been flooded and there are concerns about the by-elections in Srinagar and Anantnag parliamentary constituencies, slated to be held on April 9 and 12.

In 2014, the state was hit by the worst floods in over a century, throwing basic infrastructure like power, railways and communication in the state completely out of gear. The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry had estimated loss of Rs 5,400-5,700 crore in the state.
 

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